As Kathleen Pickard celebrates her 101 birthday, she’s spending it doing what she loves: singing.
Born and raised in New Brunswick’s Charlotte County, she says her secret to long life is simple. “Be happy,” she says.
“When you’re happy, you’re happy.”
Pickard has a penchant for old Irish songs, particularly the Edwardian era tune, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”
When asked where that preference comes from, she points right to the source: Ireland.
“My mother and my father were married in Ireland before they came here,” says Pickard.
“I wanted to know what Ireland was like, and I went over there.”
She says travel makes up some of the fondest memories of the century she’s seen — a lot of years in total, but a blink of the eye in some respects.
“The amazing part of it? I don’t feel old,” she says.
Pickard has five children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, a few of whom were able to celebrate with her at the Saint John long-term care home she now calls home.
Known as Kay by her friends and neighbours there, they say her ‘be happy’ motto isn’t just for show — she lives it.
“She’s sweet,” says Krista Fudge who lives in the building. “She was the first person I met and we’ve been friends ever since.”
Right next door, Charlie LeBlanc says she’s the perfect neighbour.
“Kay is a wonderful person,” he says.
“She doesn’t make any noise — except sometimes her music.”
When one amasses over a century of life, they’re often asked what advice they might offer younger generations. Pickard says to strive for peace of mind.
“Always be at peace within yourself,” she says.
“Lots of times you don’t feel so good but be the best you can.”